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Standing Room Only at Lerna Village Trustee Meeting

September 2, 2015   ·   7 Comments

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Lerna, IL. (ECWd) –

I attended the September meeting of the Board of Trustees of the Village of Lerna and asked Village President Don Pearcy why he had not submitted a truthful Statement of Economic Interest since he was informed back in July (audio below) that the SEI he submitted was not accurate – He failed to disclose income obtained from the Village of Lerna the previous year, which resulted in a false SEI being filed.

His answer was that he went to the Coles County Clerk’s office the day after the July meeting and they would not help him file a new one, so he gave it to the village attorney. The problem is that it is Pearcy’s responsibility to file the SEI, and to file a true one – which is not the job of the attorney.

Next I asked if he would resign due to the conflict of interest with him being the Village President and the Village Maintenance Supervisor. There was no direct answer to that question, but I was left with the impression he was going to hold on to both jobs, in violation of the law, until he is forced to vacate one. ECWD’s opinion is that by taking the oath of office of Village President, he automatically forfeited his position as maintenance person for the village. This will have to be decided in a Court.

After that, Pearcy allowed the 30+ Lerna residents to voice their opinions on the subject, and they were in favor of him keeping both jobs in violation of the law because “that’s is how they’ve done it for 15 years” – like that is supposed to make it OK. I was not prepared for direct questions from the residents, but i agreed to engage in the discussion after Pearcy agree to allow it to happen. It was a lively back and forth between myself and the residents that wished to speak. I had the impression they had not been given the complete story by Pearcy, because the village attorney had previously informed him it was a conflict. Rob Bogue had a comment that the residents should not take it as a personal attack on Pearcy, but rather it should be taken as what it is, a violation of law, it needs to be fixed, and it does not mean Pearcy is a bad person. My thoughts are that it does not mean he is a bad person unless he refuses to do what is right and eliminate the conflict be resigning one of those two jobs.

After about 10-15 minutes of discussion, one of the residents asked what the village attorney thought about the conflict of interest. She replied (audio below) that she had previously informed Pearcy of the conflict and that her opinion was that it is a conflict and not in keeping with the Public Officer’s Prohibited Activities Act.

Another interesting discussion involved the Trustee who had collected payment from the Village for mowing yards (in violation of law), and who also, at the July meeting Motioned to give Pearcy a pay raise, tried defending his conflict of interest – which tells me she might still be getting paid by the village to mow yards. A request for payment information will provide that answer.

Nothing was said at this meeting that we haven’t heard before, like: “Go home“, “stay out of our town“, “you have no business here“, etc, etc…

Forthcoming articles will fully explain in detail why these are conflicts of interest and will include citations from the applicable statutes, Attorney General opinions, and Precedent setting Court Rulings.

July 2015 Lerna Public Comment:

Lerna Village Attorney response to question:

Lerna-Mayor (WinCE)

Don Pearcy – Village of Lerna

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Readers Comments (7)

  1. Former Resident says:

    This is crazy. We moved out of Lerna because of the way it is ran. I grew up in Lerna , a time when people cared about Lerna and there was good for the thriving little village. It doesn’t matter what the majority thinks about the Mayor double dipping , its the law. So an elected government official is exempt from the law? Hie can you trust a man to guide you as a mayor when he is more concerned with his own wallet and not the people’s best interest . What about the “non-majority” of people that don’t agree with how village is ran ?? It sounds pretty clear to me that there is a group of people who are trying to monopolize on the village of lerna. They will shut off one persons water because they are a week over due but of you hob-knob with the right people you can go months without paying your bill! It saddens me to see my little home town being stunted of growth all because someone wants to make a quick buck. OK so the major is older they say . If he is in good enough health to be maintence man than hr can go get another job! Sounds like to me this is a way to make easy money, make your own salary and rules, and get out of finding a legal source of income . my family still reside in Lerna and I hope for their sake they move out because as long as their are self-centered corrupt people in the positions , Lerna will not prosper. Just step aside Major! If you truly cared about Lerna and the people of Lerma you would have dine the right thing along time ago. Everyone on the board needs to stop playing dumb, they knew what they were doing was wrong . they thought since they have been geting by with it so keep stealing from the people! The major and board should be very ashamed of themselves ! I say keep on them “watch dog!” At least someone is looking out for the people . if something doesn’t change , more people will follow in the steps of many and leave the village . I seriously don’t see how they don’t get the law!! Why would someone fight so hard to not do the right thing ???……………creed

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  2. Z says:

    Seriously? How much more cut and dry can it be? One cannot serve both as an elected official and a paid employee to the office which is served. It makes no difference whether or not “the majority of the public approves”. It’s the law.

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  3. Coles County citizen says:

    The problem with this is it is just a witch hunt. No one will prosecute a 71 year old public servant for doing something the majority of the community and voters approves of. So you threaten arrest, but you have no arresting powers. You threaten to take him to court, but no States Attorney will prosecute him. This man has a clean criminal record (minus minor traffic offenses) so even if it does go somewhere in the justice system it will end up being slap on the wrist at worst. But going through all of this for what? A clerical error (SEI) somewhere that no one has ever looked at on any level of local, state or federal government. Give me a break. The ILCS section you are going after has subsections that include exemptions if the elected official abstains from voting, which he has done. Additionally to all of this, the responsibilities of the city fall on the mayor when a position is vacant and no one applies for it. Who else is to take care of the roads, mowing services, street lamps, water services and other maintenance objectives when no maintenance supervisor or staff exist? Is that village suppose to wait for a applicant that is qualified thus allowing it to fall into shambles while waiting or take on the responsibility until someone steps up and fills the vacancy? No board member stepped up to take care of it, no citizen stepped up to take care of it but the mayor did for the community. The majority of the community has spoken their thoughts on the issues at hand and that majority backs the mayor. They do not want you there nor do they care for your input. All that you “watchdogs” do is intimidate officials out of office.

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    • jmkraft says:

      You are completely clueless. Please watch for upcoming article that will explain everything you mentioned above.
      BTW, nobody threatened arrest, and taking him to court does not require a state’s attorney.

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    • Philo Beddoe says:

      You guys quit picking on the venerated public servant! Nobody has a problem with the way things are done in Lerna. If they do they keep their damn mouth shut is my guess or relatives of the darling 71 year old saint will be serving up knuckle sandwiches. I would bet that some of the citizens of 1920s era Chicago thought that Alphonse Capone was a staunch servant of the community. Wrong is wrong. If the guy had an ounce of scruples he would do the right thing and step down from one of the positions. Instead he and his supporters are going to ride the whole flaming mess into the ground under the guise of “we’ve always done it this way”. I would be interested to know what the community’s opinion is on the matter of incest. Pretty sure I won’t be surprised.

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    • Beelady33 says:

      That’s right. Elected officials ought to be able to break any laws they want to. Nobody cares about stupid laws! And it’s no big deal that this old guy is breaking laws that Illinois has on the books because he’s old and people like him so just back off! Just because I am expected to obey all the laws (even the stupid ones like coming to a full stop at a red light when turning right and there is no oncoming traffic) and I will be fined hundreds of dollars, an elected official (especially an old one) is more important than me so he should be given a break! Geez…these watchdogs really don’t know when to stop do they? They think everyone should follow the law and we think that only us little people should while our elected kings should do whatever they want because they feel like it.

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  4. Philo Beddoe says:

    Was Rob Getting “wild eyed” at the meeting? On another note: You mean to tell me that these idiots condone this guy’s double dipping and lining his pockets with their tax money. Pull up stakes and leave those f@ckin dumb@sses to their own self inflicted demise. It’s practically the same mindset of those Clark county idiots who allow themselves to be ruled by moneyed @ssholes like Yargus and Stone.

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